Violent Crimes

Violent crimes are actions that an individual commits with the specific goal of harming others, and inflicts moderate or severe injury. The magnitude of the offense depends on the action, the extent of the harm, and who the victim is. Violent crimes are also associated with fear, force, or threats of force.

Violent crimes carry severe consequences. A mere allegation of a violent crime can earn you a lengthy prison sentence or life imprisonment. If you face charges of such an offense, your first action should be calling an attorney from Orange County Criminal Lawyer. We have extensive experience in fighting charges of violent crime and possibly securing your freedom.

We will defend you if you are accused of any of the following crimes.

Robbery

Penal Code 211 PC, defines robbery as using force or fear to take someone else’s personal property from that person’s immediate presence, against their will. It includes robberies that you commit while wearing a mask or wielding a gun.

You can also commit a robbery in a less obvious way, such as:

  • Breaking into someone’s house when they are inside, threatening the person with physical harm, then stealing their personal property.
  • Drugging a person and stealing their property while the person is unconscious.
  • Threatening the property’s owner with physical harm when you are caught stealing.

For you to be found guilty of robbery, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • You took property belonging to someone else. You gained possession of the property, and you moved it for even a very short distance.
  • The property was in another person’s possession. The person only needs to have control or the right to control the property.
  • You took that property directly from someone else or their immediate presence. Property is in someone’s immediate presence if the property is within the person’s physical control, and the person would have kept possession of the property if there was no robbery.
  • You took the belongings against the person’s will. The person must understand their actions and give consent freely.
  • You used force or fear to take the person’s property or to prevent the person from resisting.
  • When you took the property through force or fear, you planned to deprive the person of their property permanently, or a significant portion of the property’s value or enjoyment for a long time.

Penalties for Robbery

The penalties depend on whether the crime is a first-degree or a second-degree robbery.

You commit first-degree robbery if:

  • Your victim is a passenger or a driver of a taxi, bus, subway, cable car, trackless trolley, streetcar, or other comparable transportation for hire
  • That robbery happens in an inhabited trailer, boat or house
  • You rob the victim when they are using or immediately after they use an ATM.

Penalties for first-degree robbery are:

  • Formal probation (three to five years)
  • Three, four or six years in state prison
  • A fine not exceeding $10,000
  • Both a fine and imprisonment
  • Three, six or nine years in state prison if the robbery was within an inhabited structure, and in coordination with two or more people.

Second-degree robbery is a robbery that falls short of the features of robbery in the first-degree. The penalties are:

  • Felony probation
  • Two, three or five years imprisonment
  • A maximum fine of $10,000
  • Both imprisonment and a fine

Enhanced robbery sentences are:

  • Section 12022.7 of the Penal Code: If during the robbery, the victim suffers great bodily harm, you will receive an additional three to six years.
  • Penal Code 12022.53: Also known as the “10-20-life use a gun and you're done” law, this code imposes a longer sentence if you commit a robbery using a gun. It provides for an additional
    • 10 years if you use a firearm to commit a robbery
    • 20 years if you personally and intentionally fire a gun in a robbery
    • 25 years to life imprisonment if you cause another person great bodily harm or death using a gun.
  • A strike on your criminal record: If you acquire three strikes, with at least one robbery conviction, you will receive 25 years to a life sentence in state prison.

Kidnapping

 

Under California’s Penal Code 207, kidnapping occurs when you use fear or force to move someone without their consent. There must be some form of violence, a threat of violence or restraint. Aggravated kidnapping occurs when you use fear, force, or fraud to move somebody without their consent and:

  • The person is younger than 14 years
  • You detain the person for ransom
  • The person suffers bodily injury or death
  • You kidnap someone else while you are carjacking

The following elements are necessary to sustain kidnapping charges:

  • Moving the person for a significant distance. If the kidnapping is an additional charge to an underlying crime, the movement must exceed what is associated with the underlying offense.
  • Without the victim's consent: The victim resisted, protested, or they did not agree to accompany you voluntarily. Even children and mentally incapacitated people are considered capable of giving lawful consent.
  • Fear, force, or fraud: You must have used force, threats, violence, or occasionally fraud. Fear or force involves inflicting or threatening to inflict physical harm on the victim.

Using force includes:

  • Restraining the person physically
  • Dragging the victim physically to a specific location
  • Beating a person to the point where they cannot resist further

If the victim is an unresisting child or infant, the only force required is that which is sufficient to carry that child away.

Fear includes but is not limited to:

  • Demands that the victim complies while you hold them at knifepoint or gunpoint
  • Threats to physically or sexually abuse the person or their family members if the victim does not obey you

Fraud happens in aggravated circumstances such as fraudulent kidnap of:

  • A child below 14 years to commit lewd acts with the minor.
  • A person to leave the state and sell the person involuntary servitude or slavery
  • A person from a different state and bringing them into California.

If you mislead the victim and obtain their consent, you have got that consent fraudulently. Fraudulent consent is equal to no consent. A person only consents willingly to something after they understand all the facts. Also, if the victim initially agrees to move but later withdraws the consent, moving the person a substantial distance will constitute kidnapping.

Penalties for kidnapping

Kidnapping is a continuing offense under California law. The crime continues throughout the time you detain the victim. Even if you continually move the victim to different places, you only face one count of kidnapping.

For simple kidnapping, the penalties are:

  • A three, five, or an eight-year term in state prison
  • A maximum fine of $10,000

For aggravated kidnapping, possible penalties are:

  • A five, eight or 11-year term in state prison for a victim below 14 years
  • Life imprisonment without any possibility of receiving parole if you kidnapped the victim for:
    • A reward
    • A ransom
    • Extortion
    • Robbery
    • Carjacking
    • Sex crimes including
  • Life imprisonment without parole if the kidnapping was for ransom, extortion, or a reward and:
  • The person dies or suffers bodily injury
  • You expose the person to a significant possibility of death
  • A “strike” on your criminal record

 

Assault

Penal Code 240 is California’s assault law which describes an assault as attempting to cause a violent injury to another person. The elements of assault include:

  • Your action is naturally likely to result in the use of force on another person directly. Using force is any offensive or harmful touching, whether direct or by using an object. Even a slight, rude or offensive touch counts as assault. You do not need to succeed in applying force; all you need is to take action that is likely to result in the use of force.
  • You acted willfully. An intention to hurt anyone, gain an advantage, or break the law is not necessary.
  • At the time of acting, you had knowledge that would cause a reasonable person to know that the action would probably and directly lead to the use of force.
  • At the time you acted, you had the immediate ability to use force on the person.

Penalties for assault

Misdemeanor assault is punishable by:

  • Summary probation
  • A 6-month term in county jail
  • A maximum fine of $1,000
  • Both a fine and jail time

You will face one year in jail, and $2,000 in fines if in the course of their duties, you assault:

  • Peace officers
  • Firefighters
  • Emergency medical technicians or paramedics
  • Process servers
  • Lifeguards
  • Code enforcement officers
  • Traffic officers
  • Search and rescue members
  • Animal control officers
  • Doctors or nurses providing emergency medical assistance
  • Parking control officers

Battery

Battery is a crime under the Penal Code 242 PC. It involves an offensive, unlawful, and willful touch using violence or force on another person. You can face battery charges even without causing the victim injury or pain so provided that your touch was offensive. However, if the battery results in serious injury, you may face a related but separate charge.

The elements of battery include:

  • You touched another person. Battery only requires physical contact and not necessarily causing injury. The touch can be:
    • Through the person’s clothing
    • Indirectly through an object that you use to touch the person
    • Both through an object and through clothing.
  • The touch was willful. You acted on purpose and not necessarily with the intention of:
    • Breaking the law
    • Hurting another person, or
    • Gaining an advantage.
  • The touch was offensive or harmful. A touch becomes battery when it is offensive or harmful. Such touching includes a rude, violent, disrespectful, or angry touch.

Penalties for battery

Simple battery is a misdemeanor. The penalties include:

  • Summary (misdemeanor) probation
  • Up to six months of jail time
  • A fine not exceeding $2,000.

Murder

Penal Code 187(a) defines murder as the illegal killing of a fetus or human being with malice aforethought. The critical feature of murder crimes is malice. Hatred or ill will on the victim is not a requirement for malice aforethought. It only requires that you act without regard for human life, in a way that is highly likely to result in death.

To be guilty of murder, the prosecutor must prove that:

  • You acted in a way that caused death to a fetus or another person.
  • You acted with malice aforethought
  • You killed without lawful justification or excuse.

Malice, whether implied or express, is necessary for both first-degree as well as second-degree murder. Express malice is when you specifically purpose to kill another person. Implied malice is when:

  • The killing was a result of an intentional act
  • The natural outcome of your actions are a danger to human life
  • You acted deliberately in full awareness of the threat to human life, but you consciously disregarded human life.

First-degree murder

You face a first-degree murder conviction if you:

  • Kill a person by using an explosive, a destructive device, ammunition designed to penetrate armor or metal, poison or a weapon of mass destruction, and if you lie in wait or inflict torture.
  • Kill in a premeditated, deliberate and willful manner, or
  • Commit felony-murder

Capital murder

Capital murder refers to first-degree murder under particular circumstances. It relates to murder charges that carry a penalty of capital punishment or life without parole. Under Penal Code 190.2 PC murder in the first-degree becomes capital murder if the killing is:

  • For financial gain
  • Of multiple victims
  • Of a witness to keep them from testifying
  • Associated with hate crimes
  • While attempting to commit, committing, or promptly after committing a felony
  • The killing of a firefighter, a police officer, prosecutor, juror, judge or an elected official
  • By “drive-by” shooting
  • To benefit a street gang

Second-degree murder

 

Penal Code 187 defines second-degree murder as willful murder that is not deliberate or premeditated. It is a murder that is not first-degree murder. For example:

  • Killing a person after you shoot into a room
  • You have a DUI conviction, and you cause an accident in which someone dies
  • You punch a smaller, intoxicated person who falls and strikes his head on the concrete.

Felony murder

The felony murder rule creates a murder liability for you if you kill a person while you are committing a dangerous felony. Under California murder laws, any death that has a logical link to the felony counts as murder, regardless of whether the death was negligent, accidental, or intentional.

Penalties for murder

The penalties depend on your conviction.

For first-degree murder, you risk facing:

  • 25 years-to-life in a state prison
  • If the murder was a result of a hate crime, you face a life sentence in state prison without the possibility of parole

Capital murder is punishable by:

  • The death penalty (a temporary moratorium on executions was announced on March 12, 2019)
  • A life sentence in state prison without the possibility of parole

Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 years-to-life in state prison. Enhanced sentences include:

  • A previous murder conviction: Life in prison without the possibility of parole
  • Killing a person by shooting from a vehicle to cause severe injury: 20 years-to-life.
  • Killing a peace officer: 25-years-to-life
  • Specifically planning to kill or inflict serious bodily injury on the officer, or using a deadly weapon: Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Additional penalties include:

  • An extra 10, 20 or 25 years-to-life if you used a gun during the murder
  • A strike on your record
  • Enhanced sentencing if the crime is gang-related or you used a gun
  • Victim restitution
  • A fine not exceeding $10,000
  • Loss of your right to possess or own a firearm

Carjacking

Under Penal Code 215 PC carjacking is the act of using force or fear to take a motor vehicle from another person’s immediate presence to temporarily or permanently deprive the person of their possession. The elements of carjacking include:

  • A car was in someone’s possession, meaning that the person was driving the vehicle.
  • You took the car from their immediate presence. The motor vehicle must have been within the person’s reach, control, or observation.
  • Using fear or force against the person’s will. Consent must be out of free will, not out of fear or coercion through threats.
  • You intended to deprive the person of that motor vehicle either temporarily or permanently. It is irrelevant whether you “borrowed” the car for a short period or you took the car to sell it.

Penalties for carjacking

 

Carjacking is punishable by

  • A one-year county jail term and probation
  • A three, five or nine-year prison term
  • A maximum fine of $10,000

Sentence enhancements include additional and consecutive:

  • Three to six years in prison for causing great bodily harm
  • 15 years to life for association with a criminal street gang
  • Use of a gun: 10 years for using, 20 years for firing and 25 years to life for killing or severely injuring someone else.
  • A strike on your criminal record
  • First-degree murder charges under the felony-murder rule
  • Removal or deportation if you are an alien or a legal immigrant

Violent Sex Crimes

The term sex crimes describe offenses that involve illegal sexual conduct. Sex crimes can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on severity. Violent sex crimes include rape and sexual battery.

Rape

Under Penal Code 261, rape is the nonconsensual sexual intercourse with a person who is not your spouse, achieved through fear, force, or threat. The elements of rape are:

  • You engaged a woman in sexual intercourse
  • The woman was not, at the time, your wife
  • The woman had not consented to the intercourse
  • You achieved the intercourse through fear or force, threats of future bodily harm, or threats of official action such as arrest or deportation.

Penalties for rape

Rape is punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail with formal probation
  • Three, five or eight years in state prison

Enhanced sentences include:

  • If the victim suffered great bodily harm:
    • An extra three to five years in state prison
    • Fines of up to $10,000
    • A strike on your criminal record
  • If the victim is above 14 years, you get nine or 11 years in state prison.
  • If the victim is under 14 years, you face a prison term of 9, 11, or 13 years.

For all rape convictions, there is a requirement that you register as a sex offender.

Sexual battery

Also known as sexual assault, the term refers to touching another person’s intimate parts with the aim of sexual abuse, arousal, or gratification. Penal Code 243.4 PC prohibits these acts.

You may face sexual battery charges if you :

  • Convinced the victim that the act was for professional purposes
  • Restrained the victim unlawfully
  • Performed the act on an institutionalized, severely disabled or incapacitated person
  • You forced the person to touch yours or another person’s intimate parts or to masturbate.

Penalties for sexual battery

For a misdemeanor:

  • Six months or one year in jail
  • Up to $2,000 in fines ($3,000 if the person was your employee)
  • Registration as a sex offender for a minimum of 10 years

For a felony:

  • Two, three or four years in state prison
  • A fine not exceeding $10,000
  • Lifetime registration as a sex offender

Arson

Arson can be charged under different arson laws.

  1. Penal Code 451: Maliciously or willfully setting fire to land, a building, or other property. To be guilty of malicious arson, you must have:
  • Burned or set fire to a part or the entire forest land, structure, or another person’s property.
  • You acted maliciously and willfully. You acted intentionally to injure, annoy, or defraud another person.
  1. Penal Code 452: Causing fire unlawfully, also known as reckless arson, or reckless burning. To be liable for reckless arson, you must have:
  • Burned or set fire to property, forest land or a structure
  • Acted recklessly - You were aware that the action presented an unjustifiable and significant risk of fire, but you disregarded the risk and deviated from acting as a reasonable person would.

Penalties for arson

 

Malicious arson is punishable by imprisonment:

  • Personal property: 16 months, two years or three years
  • Forest land or a structure: two, four or six years
  • Burning inhabited property or structure: three, five or eight years
  • Causing great bodily injury: five, seven or nine years
  • An additional $10,000 fine
  • A strike on your criminal record

Penalties for reckless arson are:

  • For personal property:
    • Six months county jail time
    • Up to $1,000 fine
    • Both a fine and jail time
  • For forest land or a structure:
    • As a misdemeanor: Six months county jail time
    • As a felony: 16 months, two or three years in prison.
  • For inhabited property or structure:
    • Misdemeanor: One year jail time
    • Felony: Two, three or four-year imprisonment
  • For causing significant bodily injury:
    • Misdemeanor: One year in jail
    • Felony: Two, four or six-year imprisonment.
  • For aggravated arson, you get an additional and consecutive sentence of one to five years in prison.
  • If you intended to injure other people and you had an earlier conviction, the losses are more than $650,000, or you damaged at least five inhabited structures, the penalty is 10 years to life in prison.

Consult a Orange County Criminal Lawyer Near Me

Dealing with charges of violent crimes can be a daunting task. Any false move can lead to a conviction that will leave a permanent entry on your criminal record. Therefore, it is critical to consult a seasoned attorney who can fight the legal battle on your behalf. If you are facing charges of any violent crime within Orange County, CA call us at 714- 262-4833 and we will do our best to possibly secure a “not guilty” verdict or receive a favorable plea deal.

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